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Jonathan backs down on UNILAG renaming

22 February 2013, 09:10

Abuja - Prof. Jerry Gana, the Chairman, Governing Council of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, has hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for retaining the name of the institution.

The former Minister of Information spoke in Abuja on Thursday during the inauguration of governing councils for five federal universities.

President Jonathan had in a broadcast to mark the 2012 Democracy Day renamed the University of Lagos (UNILAG) as Moshood Abiola University (MAULAG).

The name change had been the subject of litigation and protests from students and alumni of the institution.

A court recently ruled that the change was illegal.

Mr. Gana said the president had upheld the Constitution by reversing the change of name of the university.

“This is a pointer to the fact that the current administration is committed to entrenching democracy and justice in the country.’’

Mr. Gana, who was responding on behalf of the four councils, said they would ensure that the universities’ communities settled down in peace.

“I assure you that we will do our best to be fair, just and honourable in the discharge of our duties.”

He also promised effective leadership with integrity, honour and justice.

Mr. Gana said members would work according to the rules governing the institutions.

He thanked Jonathan for the appointments and said they would put in their best as Nigerians deserved nothing less.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Uche Chukwumerijie said the lawmakers’ job had been made easier by the appointments.

Mr. Chukwumerijie said the committee’s oversight visits to the institutions had identified lack of leadership by the absence of governing councils and the quality of members of the boards as challenges facing the institutions.

He said the Federal Government had by the appointments taken care of the issues.

“There are councils for those that did not have and the members who have been appointed are men and women of proven integrity and experience in academics.’’

The lawmaker described the appointees as round pegs in round holes and the right captains in the ship.

Mr. Chukwumerijie charged the councils to immediately tackle falling standards of education, corruption, cultism and many ills that had continued to affect the development of education.

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Prof. Julius Okojie, said no university could function effectively without a governing council.

Mr. Okojie urged government to consider training and retreat for members to enable them to keep abreast of global best practices in university administration.

He also advocated financial autonomy for universities in the country.

The other governing councils inaugurated by the Minister of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa’I, were for the University of Benin, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Michael Opara University of Agriculture, Umudike.

Their chairmen are Sen. Bob Dickson, Prof. Rowland Ndoma-Egba and Prof. Anya O.Anya respectively.



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